For months this year, the state has been hot and cold, sometimes resembling a swaying state and sometimes seemingly out of reach for Trump. After the race started to narrow this summer, Biden poured millions of dollars into the state, advertising Trump on television.
Yet Trump continued his campaign in the state, appearing twice in northern Minnesota in the fall and, after cutting spending there for weeks, announcing 12 days before the election that he was adding advertising and was making a new race for the state.
Biden sought to establish a connection with the region through his roots in the working class Scranton, Pennsylvania. Appearing at a union training center last month outside Duluth on the tip of Lake Superior, Biden said that as where he came from, “Here in the Iron Chain we can see the resilience and courage, the communities that built America, the courage of which they are made.
Trump’s hope was to limit losses in the Twin Cities and their suburbs while increasing turnout in rural and western parts of the state and northeastern Minnesota. The state’s heavily white population – comprising hundreds of thousands of whites without a college degree who were eligible but not registered to vote – has offered Trump one of his best opportunities to build his base.
In his appearances and rallies around the state, Trump has leaned heavily on Minnesota’s urban-rural divide, especially in the very working-class Iron Range. He ran ads claiming “lawless criminals” terrorized Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death. And the president mocked Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar, a former refugee from a Minneapolis-based district, saying Biden “would turn Minnesota into a refugee camp.”